Crown Prince Alexander II on the Centenary of the beginning of the Great War
It has been hundred years since the beginning of the war that is remembered in history as the Great War, as a first war that officially was called a World War that left tragic marks on our planet! The victorious parties named it as a Great war for civilization afterwards! The war began by the Austro Hungarian attack on Serbia. Serbia lived on, the Austro Hungarian Monarchy did not.
War of unequal, suffering of the innocent, feats of heroes and suffering of millions, struggle for survival and freedom and hunger for dominance and conquest have been around the embattled world during the long years from summer of 1914 till spring of 1919. War is a general term for a phenomenon consisting of hunger, diseases, destruction and death. The Serbian people and Serbia have known well the war as state of mind and a price that has to be paid for survival and life as free people should have lived in a society of free people run by the rule of law and justice! Our ancestors paid that great price, and we haven’t forgotten their sacrifice nor their example they left to us even after 100 years.
My great grandfather His Majesty King Peter I ruled Serbia in 1914. During First and Second Balkan War we liberated our lands that were enslaved for centuries and our people that dreamt of freedom during those times! Nobody in Serbia wanted a new war, nor welcomed it, but when it came it was welcomed as an uninvited guest should have been: with courage and determination!
We are witnessing today that new times and the new power balance could change history and relationships. Old alliances are disappearing, new ones are emerging and break away. Some all hatred is resurrect, some old passions are in work again, and some new interests feed themselves upon old ideas and fallacies. Nothing new and nothing we have not seen already. The idea of freedom, law and justice, although its old and outdated concepts, still have great value for us. We have not invented democracy, nor have we always implemented it and have been worth of it, but democracy has been the very essence of our society and our nation, and it still is.
We are Serbs, and together with other nations we share our homeland and our destiny with, we do not mark this anniversary by celebrating war and war victory, but by paying respect to victims, warriors, volunteers who fought for the right of a small country to exist freely among the nations. We celebrate their sacrifice and their conscience that guided them. We celebrate their faith and commitment. We celebrate that we had the honour to be on the right side in a Great War for civilization!